"When I became an Obama Scholar,
I knew that I was one step closer to changing the world."
- Stanley Ndambakuwa
Obama Scholar, Stanley Ndambakuwa speaks at the University of Chicago at an event hosted by the Harris School of Public Policy in the South Side of Chicago in April 2019.
Founder, Stanley Ndambakuwa was born in Mvuma, Midlands Province of Zimbabwe.
"Being born as the only boy in a family of girls helped me to understand the disadvantages that are faced by young girls when they are raised in poor families and communities."
Stanley was born in Mvuma, Zimbabwe into a deprived environment where he suffered financial challenges at an early stage in his life. By using a natural instinct of innovation, Stanley started his educational journey by helping his parents to work in the fields in communities to raise money for secondary education.
The African Community Fund for Education Group was founded by Stanley Ndambakuwa on June 25, 2013.
Stanley was born in Mvuma, Zimbabwe into a deprived environment where he suffered financial challenges at an early stage in his life. By using a natural instinct of innovation, Stanley started his educational journey by helping his parents to work in the fields in communities to raise money for secondary education. Post-secondary education was a great challenge for him financially, but a
local District Head helped him to receive the Presidential Scholarship Award from the Government of Zimbabwe in 2010. Given this privilege, Stanley worked diligently and completed a Bachelor of Social Science at Monash University in 2013.
Stanley is a GIS Professional focused on Geographical Informational Systems and Remote Sensing. He has a practical and academic background from Monash University in GIS – Planning and Decision Making, and GIS – Free Open Source Systems (FOSS) Geo-Informatics, including Cartographic Design and Production, and Geospatial Analysis. He is interested in
Landscape photography and aerial mapping analysis including Geospatial engineering, and Geocomputation.
Stanley was an active student, elected as a three-time President of a student organization called Society of Monash University’s Geographers and Environmentalists which helped him to unleash his creativity and leadership abilities for three years.
In addition to his developing skills, he participated as Mentee in the Monash Alumni Student Mentoring Program which helped him to understand the problems of other youths, and to become a Residence Mentor at Monash South Africa, where he mentored fellow students on personal and academic challenges.
Having worked in various communities, he learned more about other youths who are living in poverty, and with this insight he began to seek ways to change the lives of others. Stanley founded the African Community Fund for Education Group (ACFE) in 2013 with a mission to minimize the impact of poverty by creating empowerment opportunities for the disadvantaged through education and leadership development. He was first mentored by Rev. Andrew Wutawunashe, Author of Dear Africa who taught him to live the African dream, to love it, and to own it. Stanley is currently being mentored by Mr. Christopher Che, the President & CEO of Che International Group, and a former member of President Obama’s 2011 – 2012 Council for Jobs and Competitiveness.
Stanley is also assisted in his community development work by his personal Strategic Advisor, Ms. Carla D. Walker, an American strategist and the President & CEO of thinkBIG strategies who advises him on global development strategies. Stanley has a passion to help educate underprivileged children by raising funds. His deepest desire is to make education affordable so that the brilliant minds of Africa can bring their share of influence on the global village.
"Education is a master key that can open many doors of opportunity, especially in a competitive and credentialed global village. It takes one man or woman to educate one child and with each of us sharing one dollar each, a million of us can send a village to school and out of those students will emerge world leaders."
In his first interview with Mark Macomber in the United States, Stanley said he wants to change the world by empowering individuals and communities. His first interview became the voice of the voiceless. Stanley’s work based on creating social programs for Africa inspires young minds and enriches the experiences of those leaders around the world who seek for ways of positive and impactful involvement in Africa. ‘I want to see a world where young people are groomed to think with a global focus’ He says.
"I want to see a world where young people are groomed to think with a global focus." - Stanley Ndambakuwa
Stanley knows how it feels to have the desire to go to school without the means to pay for tuition. He was the first to have a college degree in his family. He believes that there are many who can share his dream if they are given the power of knowledge that is found in education. It did not seem like Stanley had a future but education made it possible for him and he realized that there are many who share similar stories and by shared experiences, Stanley is convinced that an educational opportunity is significant to change the world. Now Stanley says, ‘Education is a master key that can open many doors of opportunity, especially in a competitive and credentialed global village. It takes one man or woman to educate one child and with each of us sharing one dollar each, a million of us can send a village to school and out of those students will emerge world leaders.’
In 2015, Stanley spearheaded the launch of the celebrated ‘Educate the Girl Child Campaign’ in Harare, Zimbabwe against child marriages. The campaign aims to create awareness and responsibility for the inclusive and sustainable education of girls. The campaign is centered around creating and sustaining opportunities for educating girls and reducing the impact of HIV/AIDS on school completion for girls.
In 2018, Stanley was selected and announced by the Obama Foundation and The University of Chicago as one of the 25 Inaugural Obama Foundation Scholars in Chicago. Stanley was selected as the only Zimbabwean, and one of two Africans selected to represent Southern Africa.
Inspired by real-life experiences and humble devotion to public duty, from a disadvantaged young background to an inspired student leader and now President & Group CEO of a growing International NGO, Stanley completed his first book to be published soon titled, “One Extra Mile” which talks about the action, service, humility, and vulnerability that one goes through when they decide to take an extra mile. Stanley says his book will help to awaken a new generation and is an edge through which young people will find balance and enlighten their dreams.
He was appointed to the Advisory Board of the University of South Africa and Open University’s IDEAS Project from 2016 - 2019. The Project is funded with R12 million from a partnership of the Newton Fund, South Africa’s National Research Foundation and the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council, and aims to facilitate equitable access to quality education for International Distance Education students.
Photo: Obama Foundation
The University of Chicago and Columbia University Obama Foundation Scholars gather for a night at the home of the Bucksbaums in Chicago.